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Annette Simmons Heart Hospital dedicated in The Heart Center

November 30, 2010

The Heart Center, one of the top 10 programs for cardiac care in the nation as ranked by Child magazine, has even more reasons to celebrate. Children’s received a generous gift from the Harold Simmons Foundation to help fund the establishment of the Annette Simmons Heart Hospital as part of The Heart Center. The hospital will improve patients’ continuity of care and provide the collaborative environment needed for major medical advancements.

“We feel truly blessed to be able to give this gift to Children’s,” Annette Simmons said. “When we learned of the tremendous need for pediatric cardiac care, we wanted to help make the heart hospital a reality. Our grandchildren have been patients at Children’s in the past, so we understand and appreciate what a valuable resource Children’s is to the pediatric population of North Texas.”

At a stewardship event for the foundation’s 2004 commitment which was fulfilled this year, employees from The Heart Center lined the hallway on the Cardiology floor to surprise Annette Simmons and her guests Kelli Ford, Gene Jones and Betsy Sowell. After the plaque was unveiled, Simmons cut a ribbon to signify the official opening of the highly specialized hospital within a hospital.

Leaving an indelible mark

Chris Durovich, president and chief executive officer, addressed the crowd of cardiologists, clinical staff, child life specialists, social workers and patient families. Jean Storey, nursing director of The Heart Center, read a letter from a grateful patient father, Larry Creighton, who is serving in Iraq.

Below is an excerpt from the letter:

“The life of a child is most precious. It’s a thing everyone knows but never truly understands until faced with its loss. On May 9, Warren Major Creighton bravely joined Drs. Forbess and Turner, and a most capable team, to fight a cardiac condition standing in his way.

The nursing staff cannot be thanked enough. The hospital may sign their paychecks but they truly work for the children inside these walls. In life, we as a whole are always searching for just the right fit. That perfect job that allows the world to skip ahead and become a better place. It’s rare to find a cluster of such individuals. However, the cardiac unit at Children’s is once again an outlier.

We believe the vast majority of the staff has found their perfect fit and truly as a result the world is a better place. It’s painfully obvious that all the stories do not have a happy ending. Tears of both joy and sorrow cover the floors. But, when children like Warren are given a chance to grow up and find their fit, it’s then that the pain of getting there is worth all the tears.”

Hearts of gold

Dr. Joseph Forbess, chief of Cardiothoracic Surgery at Children’s and co-director of The Heart Center, planned to attend but was performing a heart transplant at the time.

After the letter was read, Dr. William Scott, chief of Cardiology at Children’s and co-director of The Heart Center, presented Simmons with a heart of gold pillow before the group toured the Cardiology floor. Patients are given blue heart pillows after surgery so they can hold it to their chest when they need to cough.

During the tour, one more surprise awaited Simmons and her guests. Sophia Creighton and her baby, Warren, stood at the end of the hallway where Warren also was given a heart of gold pillow. A meaningful moment for Sophia and Simmons, demonstrating the difference a gift and a dedicated team can make in a child’s life.


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